“On a planet where for thousands of years, even today, a woman’s worth has been judged exclusively by the productivity of her womb, what the hell is the point of a barren woman?”
~ Elissa Stein and Susan Kim
Anyone who’s been through this knows the many kinds of thoughts that rush through one’s mind. This past week it’s been a feeling of emptiness, a lack of motivation or energy. Strangely, I’m not even emotional eating.
Winter is almost upon us, and with that I have begun to cook. It is something I love to do and even more with my husband next to me – we have found a great rhythm cooking together, he with his Wusthof prepping, me with my hands in the bowl (I much prefer this over spoons when the ingredients allow for it), Ruby lying in the doorway, her eyes pleading for an invitation to clean up anything that accidentally drops. The music plays, he grabs me for a slow dance or wraps his arms around me from behind while I stir the pot, and I remember who we are.
But the house is still quiet. We’ve nothing to do right now. No hormones to prep my body, no paperwork to complete for the adoption, nothing but silence. And on those coldest of days, even walking around the garden seems like a waste. The beds are covered in straw and the ground is crunchy and hard, and springtime seems so far away.
It’s a meditation, I suppose. This barren belly and the striving to find some type of peace within that will help me move forward, past the knowledge that all those years trying to prevent pregnancy would lead to a day where a little plus sign would make all the difference.
Alternately lighting up and feeling myself sink during this season where children are everywhere. The cafe owners’ beautiful baby boy, laughing as I tickled his feet shaped like tiny footballs. The little one in the restaurant downtown watching my every move, finally exposing a big near-toothless grin. The first grader my husband reads to seeing him and grabbing his hand and dragging him back to their table to get started on a book. The smart and funny girl I’m reading to laughing at me as I dramatize a story on dinosaurs. They all light me up. And then as I brighten, I fade.
Yet I admit, I’m one of the women who stops reading an infertile’s blog as soon as she’s announced the good news. I’m one who wants to bitch slap anyone who becomes the expert on “fertility diets” because she believes that eating pineapple cores is why her embryo implanted and became human. I’m the one who feels left behind.
And I know tomorrow I could be back to hope and sass and smiles. But today I feel the shadows cloaking me, weighing me down, reminding me that sometimes life is one step forward, two steps back.
Winter approaches, and hibernation begins.
“Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.”
~Hugh Macmillan, “Rejuvenescence,” The Ministry of Nature, 1871